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Featured on Jul 19, 2011

Shai Goldman

"Change Is Good"


Have been working at Silicon Valley Bank for nine years. Started in the Bay Area and recently moved to NYC in January of this year to expand the SVB NYC office and support the startup community. Primary role is outreach to self funded and seed funded NYC startups, looking to help them anyway possible. You can tell a lot about someone from their front page of their iPhone/Android: apps on my first page include: Uber (ride in style with my clients), Evernote (gotta take notes), NBA Jams (best game ever!), Hashable (my CRM system), TripIt (great for traveling), Echofon (Twitter addict), BabyBump (wife is pregnant!)

  • Title: Director, Silicon Valley Bank
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Upper East Side
  • Contact: @shaig

What are the biggest differences between Silicon Valley and NYC startups? How would you describe the personalities of each of these communities?

The biggest difference between both communities is the level of maturity.  Silicon Valley has over 30 years of active and consistent startup/VC activity and NYC in its current incarnation is about three years old.  This means that entrepreneurs in NYC tend to be less experienced and are typically first time entrepreneurs.  The good thing is that there is a lot of educational programming and accelerators in NYC to help get these entrepreneurs up to speed.  Another difference is the community aspect of entrepreneurs in both regions.  Given that the NYC tech scene is smaller than Silicon Valley, it enables the community to be much more connected.  In addition, majority of the startups are in NYC area in close proximity, which allows these entrepreneurs to interact more easily.  One example is that for the SXSW conference in March, the NYC startup scene really bonded together before and during the conference.  The community rallied and many traveled to SXSW for their first time.

Your also lists spending “a lot of time with the family, my Wife Kanya and my dogs (aka my kids) Rocco and Reese”.  Any thoughts on raising your future child in the Big Apple?

We are pretty excited to having our baby girl born in Manhattan.  Having spent most of my life in the Bay Area, which has a lot of open space, living in Manhattan is certainly a big change for me and the family.  The nice thing about the UES is that we have access to Central Park, East River and Randall’s Island Park, all great places to hang with the family and enjoy the outdoors.  Once our child in ready for pre-school, we are going to have to make a hard decision about if we want to stay in Manhattan and pay really high fees for education or move to the another borough or into the suburbs.

What would you tell someone who is trying to decide whether to settle in Silicon Valley or NYC in order to begin their first startup?

Both communities have their strength and weaknesses.  The good thing is that it doesn’t always have to be a scenario of one or the other.  Many startups have distributed teams, with offices in both NYC and SF.  Both regions have sufficient access to capital, so the question is which region is best to reach customers/partners, so it really depends on the sector of the startup.  The strength of the Bay Area is in infrastructure, semi, cleantech, biotech and access to Asia.  The strength of NY is media, ecommerce, fashion, fintech, adtech and access to Europe. It is also a lifestyle choice for some Founders, some prefer to live in one area or the others.  People make the argument that the Bay Area is better for finding talent, I really disagree with that.  Both regions are equally challenging to find key developers.  In the Bay Area, you are have a larger talent pool, but startups are competing with Google, Zynga, Twitter, Facebook plus a lot of other smaller startups for key talent.  You can be successful in either region.

Business Development